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BWW Blog: A Podcast Worth Your While

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On January 17, 2020, a podcast interview was done on Twyla Tharp by Jesse Thorn through the podcast Bullseye. This interview gives light into Tharp's early childhood and where her passion for dance came from. Most of the conversation between Thorn and Tharp had to do with movement. Thorn claimed that he was never a dancer and Twyla was not going to hear it. She explained to him that "dance is movement for everyone, but dancers are just more sophisticated" (Tharp). Everyone has the ability to move, but dancers are willing to explore that movement and take it just one step further. Tharp does not want that to turn off her audience, however. She states that this "should not cause the audience to disengage, they too have a body" (Tharp).

Tharp also recalls instances from her childhood when she just knew that she was a dancer. She emphasizes "knew" because she never "thought" she was, she just knew she was. At four years old she received a pair of pointe shoes (which she knew she was not supposed to have at that age). However, she would put on her pointe shoes and would run on her toes with a wagon full of comic books to the store to exchange them for more comic books. She wanted people to see and notice her and the pointe shoes were the way to do it. When she was a little bit older her family moved to a more rural area. Tharp recalls an instance where she found a snake, bashed it over the head with a shovel, draped it over a tree and did a dance of triumph towards the snake. This was one of many instances where her artistic ability came out at a young age.

When she got a little older and started dance classes, she found that it was important to expose herself to as many different styles as possible. She wanted to discover her passion and what was possible for her as a dancer as well. Having this exposure helped her to find a starting place for her own choreography. She did not want to do what everyone had already seen. As she got older, she went to college on the premed track to find out what the body could do. She later discovered that she could discover the body better in a studio. She wanted to discover how the body and the mind interact through movement.

Through this discovery she went on to choreograph without music at the start of her career. She wanted to see what movement alone could convey to an audience. It can sometimes be an extremely hard task to choreograph without music, but it is an important skill to have.

Through this podcast, listeners also hear about a side of Tharp that they might not have known. Tharp is a very shy person in comparison to who she is on stage. In high school she did not go to dances because she does not consider herself a "social dancer". It is something she is still not comfortable with in her adult life because she still does not go to parties or weddings. The social dance aspect is something that does not come easy to her. It was interesting for her to open up like that because as a listener she becomes more relatable. The final takeaway from Tharp was that every rehearsal is a performance and every performance is a rehearsal. This philosophy is something that will continue to help dancers everywhere grow.


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From This Author Student Blogger: Alyssa Schmidek